Have you ever thought about the health benefits of furniture-free living?
Wait. Let’s go back a step.
Have you ever thought about the possibility of furniture-free living? Because, if you’re like I was a couple years ago, you may not even know furniture-free living is even a thing.
Yeah, furniture-free living is totally a thing.
The other day I was having a conversation with my sister when she made the off-hand comment that she needed to buy a new couch. Her current one they got a few years ago as a hand-me-down from a friend. It was getting worn, old, and was basically broken. She discussed how she just wished she could get rid of the old couch and no worry about getting a new one.
That’s when I chimed in.
“Guess what? You don’t have to have a couch.”
Yes, you heard that right. No couch. In fact there are lots of people who make their homes as little-to-no furniture as possible. And if that sounds a little too crazy for you, relax. You don’t have to be all or nothing. While living in New Zealand we ditched out on our couches and loved it. It was freeing in so many ways.
Now, I know what you are thinking… no furniture? Why would you even want to do that? Stick with me as I explain the benefits of furniture-free living.
So what exactly is furniture-free living?
It’s basically what it sounds like. Living your life free of the burden and clutter of most modern furniture. In today’s world we have a designated rooms for designated furniture that are for designated activities. You watch a TV in the TV room – and there’s usually something to sit on like a coach/sofa, chairs, etc.
You work at your desk in the office.
You eat at the table in the dining room.
You sleep in a bed in your bedroom.
Rather than furniture being a tool or a simple part of your life – it starts to shape your life and how you live. People cram it in their living spaces regardless of whether or not there is space. You think you need it. You are supposed to have it. Right?
Furniture-free living allows gives you a lot more space. With that space you move more. You have less clutter – no more keeping things just for the sake of having them.
Our living room no longer has couches or chairs, but yoga blocks, cushions, and foam rollers. Other people get rid of their dining room table or opt for a low-standing table and some cushions instead of chairs. Reducing or getting rid of your furniture gives your body a chance to squat, kneel, move, and adapt. It keeps your core engaged. And that’s just the top of the list of benefits.
Health Benefits of Furniture-Free Living
1. Furniture-free living is an easy way to get more exercise and movement into your day.
We sit to work. We sit to eat. We sit to relax. We sit and sit and sit and it’s killing us. (And we’re not just sitting – we’re sitting in CHAIRS. It’s the harshest kind of sitting for your body.)
When you take away the chairs and couches you force your body to find different ways to engage and relax. You use your joints, muscles, and work the entire body. You move more, burn more calories, build stronger muscles, and keep your body happy, happy.
Getting rid of your furniture helps you move more, exercise more, and use your body more without all the effort of going to the gym. It’s a more natural way to use your body. Remember, your body is the only machine that breaks down when you don’t use it.
2. Furniture-free living improves your energy.
An object in motion stays in motion. As you reduce your dependency on chairs and furniture you keep your core revved up. Instead of slumping into passive weight, you’ll be engaged and energizes. You’re posture will naturally get stronger – which also improves your energy levels.
Don’t believe me? Try this simple trick: Sit down with slumped shoulders, tucked under pelvis, and let your belly just ooze out. How do you feel?
Now sit up tall. Sit on top of your sitz bones. Or better yet: Get up and squat down or find an easy resting position on the floor. How do you feel now? Ditching your furniture – even if it’s just part-time – will keep you more alert.
3. Furniture-free living makes good posture easy (and reduces back pain).
Most chairs and couches are not conducive to sitting correctly. Being rid of your furniture allows you to take positions that can help your posture, lessen back pain, and help your body be in the alignment it was meant to be. Plus, when you don’t outsource your core support to the back of a chair or comfy couch cushion, your core gets an easy but effective workout.
4. Furniture-free living minimizes your footprint and toxin load.
Most furniture is made with either particle board (full of glue and chemicals) or the cushions are filled with synthetic material (usually dipped in flame retardants). Deciding to not have furniture in your house helps lessen your footprint and reduce how many toxic chemicals fill your home.
5. Furniture-free living opens you space – and your mind.
With less furniture comes more space. More space means a clearer and calmer mind. There are plenty of studies showing the benefit of decluttering your home – removing furniture helps you in decluttering your life. Plus the more you move and are active the more energy you’ll have for your body and your mind.
6. Furniture-free living will save you money.
Need a new couch but don’t have the funds? Simple. Just don’t buy one! Not having to fork over the funds for a big piece of furniture will save you a lot of money (and also save trees and impact on the environment). Plus you can always sell your furniture to others and even make some money on your journey to furniture-free living.
Getting started with furniture-free living:
For most people the best thing you can do to living a furniture free life style would be to start slow. There’s no pressure to throw your entire house out. I recommend picking one room that starting there. That may be all you do – but it will still have a huge impact on your health.
Here are a couple of tips that might help you on your path:
- Test it out. See how the idea feels by not eating at a dining room table – try sitting on some cushions while eating at the coffee table. Try sitting on the floor (and do some stretching while you’re at it) at the end of the day instead of passively plopping down on the couch. Test the waters and start to notice how not depending on your furniture feels.
- Accessorize. Find items to fill your now empty space. We use yoga mats, bolsters, cushions, foam rollers, and yoga blocks. It’s fun to see what items each person of the house enjoys more. The funny things is – we’ve had these items in our home forever, but now we actually use them.
- Be creative. It’s fun to see how creative the kids can get with creating their own little comfortable creations – they are great examples of movement. Find what works for you – stretching, sitting, laying on a pillow. Have fun with it! And if you’re really adventurous, fill that space with some movement-enhancing structures like monkey bars.
It really is enlivening and freeing once you start the process. But once you start to fill your home with fun sitting items and accessories rather than just sofas and chairs you’ll start to see how your physical and even mental health changes and improves.
Some of our favorite “furniture-free” accessories:
The biggest key to living furniture free is what you fill that now empty space with. While I try to leave a clutter-free life, having a completely empty room isn’t the right balance for us either. Deciding what we wanted to put in place of our furniture was so much fun and really got our creative juices flowing. Here are just a few items that you might want to consider to help you sit, move, and relax better.
- Floor Pillows – Floor pillows will become your new best friend. Our kids love to burrow into them and play around with them and we love the look they bring to our home. (Find some here.)
- Foam Rollers – Foam rollers are a way to stay active, refresh muscle soreness, and increase mobility all while in the comfort of your living room. They can also be set up like bowling pins and made into a game for the kids. (Find them here.)
- Yoga Mats – We keep a few rolled up yoga mats in the corner for added padding to the floor for sitting, laying, yoga practice, and more. Plus our kids like to roll them out to claim their own space on the floor. (Find them here.)
- Yoga Bolsters – My yoga bolster is my personal favorite item in my living room. There are so many ways you can use it from stretching to relaxing. I recommend finding some good yin yoga to make your life a little more blissful. (Find them here.)
So take that step to further your physical and mental health. Start slow but start today! Have fun with the experience, get creative, and enjoy your freedom and movement as you start your journey with furniture free living.